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New shipping container living is open for guests in downtown Phoenix

Ida on McKinley is home to 18 short-term shipping container rentals, which operate like an Airbnb for Valley visitors.

PHOENIX — One of downtown Phoenix’s most sustainable buildings is finally open and welcoming guests from all over.

IDA on McKinley is an impressive project made of shipping containers and hundreds of thousands of pounds of steel. The building is six-stories tall and made of dozens of shipping containers. It's home to short-term rentals, so it operates much like an Airbnb when people want to visit or explore the Valley.

18 short-term rentals fill the space. LOCALSTUDIO, which did the architecture and construction, said it’s the tallest shipping container building in North America. 64 shipping containers fill the space.

12 of the units are one story with one bedroom and one bath, at about 640 square feet. Six of the units are two story loft-style apartments with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and views of the city of Phoenix. All of the rentals have kitchens.

LOCALSTUDIO owner, Brian Stark, said the property meets the Phoenix climate action plan in more than 60 different ways. The building’s sustainability is something he hopes catches on in the desert down the road.

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“With the water shortages we’re dealing with already, it seems crazy to not start developing projects in a way that’s sustainable for our future," Stark said. "I’m hoping this project is a demonstration project for other developers to see what we can and should be doing.”

From water savings to energy and re-using materials, IDA is sustainably built in dozens of different ways. The shipping containers are repurposing 615,000 pounds of steel. The steel and lightly colored paint both release heat quickly helping with Phoenix’s heat island effect. And every unit is insulated in a way to keep energy bills down.

There are solar panels on the roof and over the sidewalk providing power for the ground-floor commercial space. There’s a 3,000 gallon tank on site which stores rain-water and uses it for irrigation. There’s no parking, encouraging guests to find more efficient ways to get around the Valley.

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